Back to the grindstone…

Apologies for the lack of post last week guys ‘n girls, it’s been a chaotic last 10 days or so which has really swallowed up every ounce of free time. Allow me to expand! On Thursday last week I was pulled into a meeting with a few colleagues and asked if I would be interested in being part of a (rather urgent) project. As a new teacher I was interested as any new skills I can develop will be a big help going forward (and as I’m still in my 3-month probation period I was hardly going to refuse!) The project involves re-designing the schools syllabus with topics and levels staying the same, they just need a make-over to get them looking and feeling more modern & relevant. This sounds straightforward enough, but with the various levels and programs on offer from the school this works out at around 300 hour-long lessons. That’s a lot of powerpoints & handouts for 6 people to overhaul. The urgency came in as someone in the upper echelons of management had already started selling these courses and they were staring the following week.

I’ve never been one to shy from a challenge and there no denying that the opportunity to work on so many lessons was going to seriously up skill my planning   and powerpoint skills, help me better understand the different levels and let me get creative with multimedia (plus there’s no teaching for the duration of the project and all the overtime we can eat, such is the current level of urgency) So I agreed and come Friday 13th I was lugging half of my belongings one town over from Ruian to our brand-spanking new school in Tangxio (the school we had the big opening show for which I sang at the previous month) This was going to be a very busy 11 days.

We started with vigor and got stuck into the task at hand, churning out as many classes as we could and working literally from mid-day to around 5-6 am the following morning every day. After 4 days we had…….18 lessons. Turns out we had massively overestimated the number of lessons which can be designed in a day and, despite racking up 60 hours overtime in one week (on top of my standard 37 hour contract) sleeping a max of four hours a night and spending every waking hour working, we’ve covered about 5% of the total that needs doing.

We’ve reached the end of the initially scheduled 11 days now and it’s evident this is going to be a long term project so I’m still in Tangxio in the week, churning out lessons and grabbing the overtime while it’s available but t the weekends we all have to pop back to Ruian (it’s about a 30 mins drive) to teach for two days as there aren’t enough teachers in to cover all the lessons.

This might sound like a drag, stuck in front of the computer all day and working stupid hours but it has it’s rewards (on top of the financial) Yesterday I had the first opportunity to teach a lesson I’d designed & created myself (rather than the old templates I’ve been working from since arriving) and it was an absolute blast! The lesson went really well, the students engaged, laughed and had fun but crucially they learnt whet the lesson was designed to teach them and went away with a new language skill. It’s been a while since I’ve had that sort of rewarding feeling from any job I’ve had and I left school yesterday absolutely bouncing. If all the classes I put together go that well this is going to be a fun 11 months. Just the 282 or so left to do.

You might not hear from me for a while!

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